Revive NJAC: The collegium system ultimately hurts the judiciary’s credibility. Parliament’s idea was better

Source: The post is based on the article “Revive NJAC: The collegium system ultimately hurts the judiciary’s credibility. Parliament’s idea was better” published in The Times of India on 7th November 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About the need for NJAC(National Judicial Appointments Commission)

News: Recently, the Union law minister has said that the government “won’t stay silent forever” on Supreme Court’s collegium system of appointing judges, and the apex court’s 2015 rejection of Parliament-cleared NJAC.

What is National Judicial Appointments Commission?
Read here: National Judicial Appointments Commission

NJAC was supposed to replace the collegium to make appointments to the higher judiciary more accountable. But SC rejected it before it could be tried out citing reasons such as a) Government interference in judicial appointments can undermine the independence of the judiciary, b) Executive overreach in judicial appointments in the 1970s and 1980s led to the collegium system.

Why India needs a system like NJAC?

An isolated judiciary raises suspicion of nepotism, which could raise questions about the judicial system’s credibility. Politics even plays a role in appointments decided behind the closed doors of the collegium.

So, India needs something like NJAC that aims to be a middle path to address apprehension of judges as well as meet standards of transparency and accountability.

Read more: The Court and the problem with its collegium
What can be changed in NJAC to make it more functional?

India needs to tweak the NJAC rule to improve the system further. For instance, the earlier NJAC rule that any two commission members can veto a candidate had raised objections. This can be changed to encourage consensus-building on candidates.

Read more: A better NJAC: Politicians are right on the collegium. But can their solution rise above politics, that’s the question


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